Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe is one of the oldest Orthodox communities in the region. The act of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, dated April 8, 1921, she was entrusted to the pastoral care of Metropolitan Eulogius (Georgievsky).
Russian immigrants who live in exile after the Bolshevik revolution, with the faith and courage approved here Church the presence based on the main principles of the unfinished Cathedral Moscow of 1917-1918, the Chair of the Archbishop was first approved in Berlin and then moved to Paris, to the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky. The Archdiocese received the status of “Association of French law”, consisting of parishes and communities established in France and throughout Western Europe, and remains so to this day. The statutes of this Association Main provisions of the diocesan Russian Orthodox associations in Western Europe was predestiny to the Prefecture on 26 February 1924 and remain valid today.
In 1931, to guarantee the independence and succession, the Archdiocese asked the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople for protection. 17 Feb 1931 Tomos gave the Archdiocese the status of temporary Exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
November 22, 1965, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has suddenly announced the Archdiocese on the elimination of status of temporary Exarchate, given in 1931, Since that time, the Archdiocese was independent from any Patriarchate and was administered by Archbishop George (Tarasov), the ruling Bishop in 1960-1981.
Patriachy and the Synodal letter of January 22, 1971, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the newly adopted Archdiocese, while not giving it a canonical status within Patriarchy.
Since his election, Archbishop Sergiy (Konovalov) was in talks with the Ecumenical Patriarch on the revision of the canonical status of the Archdiocese in the composition of the Patriarchy. A perennial debate within the Archdiocese and negotiations with the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was completed by the bestowal of the Patriarchal and Synodal Tomos of 19 June 1999 He was given at the request of the Archdiocese and gave it the status of an Exarchate (not temporary).
This status, without any prior consultation with whatever was the official organ of the Archdiocese, was withdrawn by the Synod 27 Nov 2018 Unexpected nature of the Synodal decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to revoke the Tomos 19 June 1999 is a cause of serious concern within the Archdiocese. However, it is very important not to rush into a hasty response.
Indeed, as evidenced in Orthodox ecclesiology in the face of their great theologians of our time, such as Metropolitan. John of Pergamon (Zizioulas) or father Nicholas Afanasiev, around their bishops community of the faithful constitute the Church in its catholicity: “a Lot pavoslavnyh synods were encyclicals and directives relating to the internal life of the dioceses, if they are the Supreme authority in the Church. Some Orthodox theologians even believed that the synods are the highest authority, and utverzhdali such a hierarchy, the basis of which are the diocese, followed by local synods, and at the highest level – the Ecumenical councils. Whether the Synod or the Cathedral of the structure that is above the Bishop? From the standpoint of ecclesiology, the answer to this question can only be negative, as for Orthodox ecclesiology there is nothing above the Bishop (the Bishop in the Orthodox Church” // Metropolit Petransky John (Zizioulas). The Church and its institutions. Paris, 2011, SS. 386-387).
Therefore, to reveal the authentic voice of the Archdiocese, we need to remain United around their ruling Archbishop, his grace John Mariupolska.
Staying true to the identity of the Archdiocese, we will be gathered around the ruling of the Archbishop, and in those institutions that are defined by our statutes and recognized by the Synod. In the first place within each parish or community, but also in the assemblies of the clergy and laity having the right to make decisions.
Any Church decision, to be effective, must be formally taken by the community to which it is assigned. Especially if it was not requested by those who must carry it out. Bishop John, as the ruling Archbishop, will be able to give an answer to the Synodal decision respecting the catholicity of the Church and Statute Archdiocese only after the following procedure: 15 Dec 2018 Archbishop John invites the clergy of the Archdiocese at the pastoral conference in order to consult with those who are with him bears the spiritual responsibility for the parishes and faithful of the Archdiocese. During the meeting, the pastoral Council of the Archdiocese will officially announce the convening of the General Assembly of the Archdiocese, which will be attended by all the clergy and delegates of the laity, elected from the parishes and communities that are related to the Archdiocese.
Being rooted in Western European society, the Archdiocese took some elements of Western culture. First and foremost is the commitment to democratic values, fundamental human rights, as well as General discussion before making any decision.
Those clergy and communities who want to leave the Archdiocese, and to join any other Bishop’s jurisdiction, will need a canonical way to request letter of release of the ruling Hierarch – Archbishop John Mariupolska.
Our preference, still, is to continue the interaction and the dialogue of love in General meeting of our diocese.
It should be noted that, in the canonical aspect – Archbishop John as the ruling Bishop didn’t ask to abolish the status of the Exarchate, nor about their own retirement. So, he reserves the fullness of the pastoral responsibility of the Orthodox Russian churches in Western Europe.
Waiting for a response, which Agapisa John Mariupolski will be able to give His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Their Eminence, the members of the Synod, as a result of the above-described transparent procedures, the clergy of the Archdiocese are invited to use the following liturgical commemoration: “On his Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and his Eminence, John, Archbishop Mariupolska, the ruling Archbishop of the Orthodox Russian churches in Western Europe.”
With confidence to the action of the Heavenly King, the spirit of Truth, the Comforter, we encourage all believers to pray for the welfare of all the Holy churches of God.